Friday, 14 December 2018 16:06

COLUMN: A year of run-on sentences and taking out the garbage

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It's beginning to be that time of the year when all the big news outlets parade out their flashy year-end reviews. You know, the one that fills up about five whole minutes of a half-hour news broadcast in that dead time after the sports segment where they usually put in a video of a raccoon playing jai alai or some feel-good story about an old lady who knits lingerie for seniors. 

I know you read all that in one deep breath. 

I probably should start my year-end review with a tally of the run-on sentences I have used this year. It's probably in the hundreds, but I'm not the one doing the counting. There are highly paid people who read this column each week and determine whether I am grammatically correct. You'll notice I did not add the familiar “or not” after the word “whether.” Whether generally implies the “or not,” so you don't have to put it there. See, I saved an editor 30 seconds of work. I can put that in my year-end review.

The problem is, I don't really have anything exceptional to put in my year-end Review. I'm not a celebrity, so I didn't attend any film festivals or award ceremonies or benefit shows. I didn't travel to lands faraway. I have not earned any degrees or diplomas or awards*. The other day, I held the cat so my wife could trim his claws. I'm not sure that warrants mention in a recap of the year's events. It's really not exceptional beyond the fact Cooper did not lacerate, shred, bite, chomp or attack me. For the record, those adjectives could have probably been halved and said the same thing. The editors know that and they will tell me that, but that's what they get for asking me to do a year-end review. 

I took the garbage out to the curb 11 times. It was actually four times, but if I said that the readers of the column would think I am lazy and make my wife take out the garbage. I'm not lazy and I don't mind taking out the garbage, but the garbage is taken to the curb for pickup on the nights I write the column — so my wife tells me to write the column and she will take out the garbage. She might have a better year-end review, because she took the cans to the curb the other 48 times this year and knows more what is going on in the neighborhood than I. 

I imagine that would be much more interesting than mine. I asked my wife if she would like to write a year-end review and she replied the most exciting thing she did this year was take out the garbage and no one wants to read about her taking the cans to the end of the driveway. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I suggested. 

The big year-end review is kinda dumb, anyway. We all know what happened in the last year, and some of it is really not worth remembering, especially if it was bad. You don't want to take six months to recover from something crummy just to have someone remind you of it around the holiday season. Most of the year-end reviews I see are just that: a lot of reminders of dumb things most people don't give a hoot about. 

If you really want to do something at the end of the year, think of something you wanted to accomplish in the previous year, but came up short on. Make it your mission in the coming year to accomplish that. End the year on a positive and uplifting note. This way, your year-end review at the end of the next year won't be filled with run-on sentences and taking out the garbage. 

(* Editor's note: Joe Weaver did, in fact, win third place in light columns from the N.C. Press Association this year.)


Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.